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__________



Nov 25, 2008, 4:20 PM

Post #301 of 1018 (11371 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

Yes! If they had any integrity. I don't think it's like Kevin Arnold from Wonder Years going to Princeton, or Natalie Portman getting into to Harvard...

But yikes. Wouldn't you hope that it's your writing that an admissions committee will respond to? Rather than who you know or the places you've been? (Or the mysterious unique-i-fy-ing element?)

I dunno. I'm hoping schools will look for what they consider stellar writing, not stuff that's merely good enough to get past the first read + Hey, it's that transgendered Vanuatuan Real World contestant who went to Bali and had lunch with Neil Armstrong!

Still and all. Even if they were looking for people born in space who know a guy...I'm just wondering what would make one person a 100% shoo-in. It's a shame you won't tell us -- my curiosity has been piqued. Big time!


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 25, 2008, 4:23 PM)


umass76


Nov 25, 2008, 4:39 PM

Post #302 of 1018 (11355 views)
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     Re: [In reply to]  

Raysen,

Would an MFA program reject Bono? I don't know, ask James Franco. He's at NYU. Possibly it was his first choice.

...

Possibly it was.

S.


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Nov 25, 2008, 4:47 PM

Post #303 of 1018 (11348 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to]  

Not to get into gossip. But a friend of mine at Brooklyn College's MFA said he saw him in a fiction workshop there. Either way, I heard he wanted to go to Columbia and got rejected. So there's that.

If this whole poetry thing doesn't work out, I could just start a 'hollywood stars going for MFAs" blog.


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


mvalente


Nov 25, 2008, 4:54 PM

Post #304 of 1018 (11342 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

Fred Savage (Kevin Arnold) went to Stanford, as did his little brother, Ben Savage. James Franco (according to Wikipedia), graduated from Palo Alto High School -- go Bay Area! -- and in 2008, he moved to NYC to attend Columbia's MFA Program. Maybe he wants to write screenplays?

On a side note, there's a youtube video of Michael Chabon answering a question at a reading regarding is role in Spiderman 2 and his departure from Spiderman 3 -- He discusses the plot, narrative, number of villains, etc. I actually think that it's pertinent to story-telling and writing narratives.

Regarding this thread, I do think that there's a small chance of getting admitted based on who you are...like tiny. That's how the real world functions, and some times, MFA programs, literary journals, and publishing houses are no different.

Mike Valente


germericanqt


Nov 25, 2008, 4:59 PM

Post #305 of 1018 (11339 views)
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     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Re: [In reply to]  

Woah, Raysen! Now you've got me all paranoid! I'm excited about my main story, I think it's my best work, and I've gotten very positive reviews on OTHER things that I've written, but my recommenders have said very little about this particular story (if they loved it, they'd say so, I'm assuming) and my boyfriend didn't like it because "he didn't understand it." Still, I feel that it's a strong piece and a good representation of what I can do (and might someday be able to do) as a writer.

I've rethought every piece in my portfolio, but not this story. Now I'm wondering if that's foolish of me. :(


__________



Nov 25, 2008, 5:20 PM

Post #306 of 1018 (11328 views)
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     Re: [mvalente] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

Stanford! Yeah, that's what I meant. He hit on a friend of mine using this improbable gangsta slang: Yo, girl -- why you gotta be dissin' me? After which, she could only stumble around the party in a daze, asking people, Did that really just happen?

But back to the Franco: he's studying screenwriting, right? Maybe making it a little less crappy than if he tried to wedge himself into a fiction program?

(Raysen, if you are James Franco, I do apologize...I really did believe you were a stoner in Pineapple Express.)


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 25, 2008, 5:29 PM)


Raysen


Nov 25, 2008, 6:55 PM

Post #307 of 1018 (11291 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

I don't think James Franco is a big enough name to warrant automatic admission to any MFA program. And if I were James Franco, why would I bother applying again if I'm already at NYU's MFA program?

I didn't say I was famous. Bono was just an example. In the grand scheme of things, I'm a nobody. But I am very unique.

My point is: the Personal Statement (and Statement of Purpose or whatever) and other materials in your application have to count for something. All else being equal -- and why wouldn't 50 or so applicants be equal -- ties have to be broken somehow. So, let's say I'm reading a Short Story anthology book. There are 50 stories there by 50 authors. How do I decide which one is the best? How do I pick the 12 best? Based only on the short stories in the anthology, should Tim O'Brien be picked ahead of Russell Banks? Should Louise Erdrich be picked over Lorrie Moore? It's not easy. This scenario just shouts "tie-breaker!"

That's what I'm talking about. I didn't say I wanted my writing (or writing sample) to be merely "good enough" for the entirety of my writing career. Of course I want my writing to be GREAT and I want the Admissions peeps to admit me because they love my writing! My point was: I wanted my writing sample to be good enough to get past the first set of reads by the Admissions committee so that they can get to my Personal Statement. When they do, I'm in like Flynn.


(This post was edited by Raysen on Nov 25, 2008, 6:57 PM)


jaywalke


Nov 25, 2008, 7:13 PM

Post #308 of 1018 (11282 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I am very unique.


I just hope you aren't relying on that third nipple, because, to be honest, all writers have those.

Good luck.


__________



Nov 25, 2008, 7:15 PM

Post #309 of 1018 (11281 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

I'm still just at a staggering loss as to what quality would greenlight you over more qualified applicants....

Is Lan Samantha Chang going to be like, Ooh, she's the fattest woman alive! Or: Look, a man with a pronged penis. Let him in!

Help me to understand. I demand a clue!

I guess if you're really worried about it you could always just give Iowa a call. Like, "Hello, James Alan McPherson? Big fan. Listen, I want you to be on the lookout for my application. My name is Danny Bonaduce. Yes, that Danny Bonaduce..."


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 25, 2008, 7:20 PM)


aiyamei

e-mail user

Nov 25, 2008, 8:11 PM

Post #310 of 1018 (11262 views)
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     Re: [flobelle] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Statistics for the "average" applicant don't make sense if there is no average applicant.


Flobelle, this idea would only begin to halfway make sense if admissions to MFA programs functioned in the following way: the school created as many spots as qualified applicants. So let's say one year 25 incredibly amazing, talented people applied. Then they would all be admitted. Another year, only one. Then that year only one would be admitted.

But so long as it doesn't work this way, and it doesn't, the statistics do matter. They tell you something about the chance that EVEN if you are stellar, you will still not have a place at that program.


(This post was edited by aiyamei on Nov 25, 2008, 8:11 PM)


symmetrical


Nov 25, 2008, 10:31 PM

Post #311 of 1018 (11228 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

I'm an undergrad creative writing major at a school with a pretty highly ranked MFA program, and have been told by my thesis advisor, and the co-director of the program, that when MFA applications come in, certain faculty members refuse to read personal statements, and only pick based on the writing sample. I also was told that an applicant was admitted due to the content of their story, (circuses and their employees) even though it "wasn't as polished or well-written as some of the other stories, just because I like circuses."


moomoocow42


Nov 25, 2008, 11:55 PM

Post #312 of 1018 (11207 views)
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     Re: [symmetrical] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I'm an undergrad creative writing major at a school with a pretty highly ranked MFA program, and have been told by my thesis advisor, and the co-director of the program, that when MFA applications come in, certain faculty members refuse to read personal statements, and only pick based on the writing sample. I also was told that an applicant was admitted due to the content of their story, (circuses and their employees) even though it "wasn't as polished or well-written as some of the other stories, just because I like circuses."


Yikes, that's frightening. The idea that just because a professor likes circuses he should choose a certain story over another seems kind of ridiculous to me. Maybe it was an attempt to be sarcastic or silly -- I'm sure the story was a worthy one for some characteristic other than its circus-related content, I mean, we're potentially talking about tens of thousands of funding dollars at stake here -- but the idea just makes me nervous. Then again, it doesn't take much to make me nervous about the application process...


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.

(This post was edited by moomoocow42 on Nov 26, 2008, 12:00 AM)


Mikielg
Mikiel Ghelieh

Nov 26, 2008, 2:58 AM

Post #313 of 1018 (11176 views)
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     Re: [moomoocow42] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

I'm sorry to have to jump in here, but I wanted to through my thoughts out there for you all. I have a former teacher from my undergrad who is a near and dear friend of mine. My friend in the last few years has become the Director of an MFA program. I was told by this person who reads applications and is writing me a letter of recommendation, as well as editing my manuscript that there are a few things that programs look for. In this order: manuscript, SOP, letters of recommendation, grades. The manuscript is number one, after that if there are a number of applicants who need to be reevaluated then they look at everything else. Such things like desire to write and ability to succeed in graduate work. So if you’re worried about the latter it sounds like you’re banking on mediocre. Send your best work and the cream will rise to the top. Focus on your writing. Oh I was also told that grades and GRE’s mean little to nothing as long as you have a 2.0 or better you sound be fine.


pernicus


Nov 26, 2008, 11:59 AM

Post #314 of 1018 (11127 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

James Franco here,

And Im gunning for ALL of your spots


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Nov 26, 2008, 12:43 PM

Post #315 of 1018 (11103 views)
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     Re: [pernicus] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

I'm still laughing at this thread! And, Raysen, do tell! Inquiring minds are dying to know. :)

Jeanne
http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


mvalente


Nov 26, 2008, 3:26 PM

Post #316 of 1018 (11066 views)
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     Re: [jlgwriter] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

I forgot to mention -- James Franco has a role in Sean Penn's movie "Milk".

I also wouldn't worry about Raysen's uniqueness -- in every batch of applicants, there are going to be candidates whose parents or family members graduated from the school, have letters of recommendations from well-known writers, received magna cum laude honors or were Rhodes Scholar finalists as undergrads, and traveled the globe in some capacity -- Peace Corps, Teach for America, duty in Iraq, etc. Inevitably, many candidates will have something to bring to the table aside from their stellar writing samples.

Mike


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Nov 26, 2008, 3:27 PM

Post #317 of 1018 (11062 views)
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     Re: [mvalente] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

He's also playing Allen Ginsberg in the movie "Howl" which might better explain his presence at New York Writing Programs...


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


Raysen


Nov 26, 2008, 4:03 PM

Post #318 of 1018 (11048 views)
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     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Re:Progress in the process [In reply to]  

Here's another thing about writing samples: the professional writer who read my work said that overall it was "superb" and "outstanding" and that I was "destined to get into any excellent program you want." But, in his markup of one of my strongest writing samples,he made a little comment along the lines of "go back and take out all the fillers" That made me question my work a bit, because I thought there wasn't much more to do. So, I went back and reread it. And you know what, I found things...little things and big things...that needed fixing. I rewrote entire pages, amplified the theme a bit here and there, took out extraneous words and sentences, added more characterizations throughout, fleshed out minor characters a bit, and the whole product became much much better. It was the 14th revision. It got to a stage where I was really enjoying reading what I had written. That, I guess, is a good test: whether you can read and reread your work without getting sick of it. If the work gets to the point where it doesn't read like something I wrote, if I can't picture myself writing those words, then I'm getting close to completion.

Lesson to be learned: You have to go through your writing sample with a fine-toothed comb, even if for the umpteenth time. It's been said here over and over again...WRITING SAMPLE, WRITING SAMPLE, WRITING SAMPLE.


(This post was edited by Raysen on Nov 26, 2008, 4:08 PM)


v1ctorya


Nov 27, 2008, 8:16 PM

Post #319 of 1018 (10965 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Raysen,

Would an MFA program reject Bono? I don't know, ask James Franco. He's at NYU. Possibly it was his first choice.

...

Possibly it was.

S.



It's my understanding that he's going to Columbia AND NYU, because Columbia is way better known for writing (when it comes to film ) and NYU for film production, but he's definately enrolled in the Columbia MFA writing program (apparently, he has some playwriting to his name already).

and for 'unique' boy, uhm, hate to break it to you, but everyone really is unique, have uniquey-freaky life experiences. but if it makes you feel better going into this uncertain process to trump yourself up as more unique, then by all means, have fun. and if you get the acceptance letter that says, "well, we liked your writing sample but damn, you were like bono in your uniqueness, to such a degree that we had to have you" than feel free to call me on it later.

as for teh circus story - a little too late on that, as I decided against my circus tale for the application. Makes me rethink my writing sample and taking out of my SOP the whole thing about being the cat faced girl until age 16 when I ran away with someone who knew electrolisis and then ended up doing back alley plastic surgery to realign my ears to give me a more human look.

I kept the tail though, it's quite useful, just gets caught in the subway doors on occassion.


Katevey


Nov 28, 2008, 11:32 AM

Post #320 of 1018 (10912 views)
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     Re: [v1ctorya] Re: [In reply to]  

Ok, ok! I'll add one! Brooke Shield to in to Princeton with a GUARANTEE she would not flunk out of any classes because of her Hollywood stardom; there's still whining and moaning about it. Hollywooders are just legacy babies without the family money (although her biological father could have gotten her in, too.) It's the way of the world. In business, legacy babies flood management positions, as an undergrad they were guaranteed part of the Bell curve A's and B's and you competed for the left-overs. Those same people will be in the golden chair positions in publishing companies, too. The "mentor" programs to usher people into high-paying corporate positions have opened a fraction to be p.c. but only to the a small extent. It's just the way it is. I had one in a class that would have struggled at any community college but he got a B in the class.

It might be nice to know you got in on real talent but that's a line for a fairy tale. I can't apply to U. Chicago, Ohio, U. Tx.-Michener or U. Ill because I can't make the app fees until January. That's life.


Katevey


Nov 28, 2008, 12:38 PM

Post #321 of 1018 (10891 views)
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     Re: [Katevey] Re: [In reply to]  

Will just add that I had really wanted to apply to Brown; though they have an application fee waiver form - many schools do, considering the many aspects of moving, living there and all that goes with it, I decided against it. It's a great program with many "perks" from being at Brown for all who get in.


germericanqt


Nov 28, 2008, 12:47 PM

Post #322 of 1018 (10885 views)
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     And they're off! [In reply to]  

Mailed my applications on Wednesday.

Godspeed, little apps. Godspeed.


v1ctorya


Nov 28, 2008, 2:58 PM

Post #323 of 1018 (10858 views)
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     Re: [Katevey] Re: [In reply to]  

To add to the "celebrity status gives you special priveleges" thing, One of the kids from Boy Meets World was in some writing program, but from purrrsonal experience, when I was at Columbia there was an uproar over the waiting list because apparently it leaked out that the school decided to give open spots to those who wouldn't need financial need. Suddenly posters were plastered all over about some Saved by the Bell the New Class actor who got in because he agreed to pay for the tuition and not ask for aid in any way/shape or form.

Also, I was a scholarship student there, no connections. And when I ran into a group of these priveleged talking about how their money was paying for others that didn't belong in their society (and actually,t hey were in my study group and we were friends, they just had no idea I was one of 'those types' of poor person) I thanked them, because if they didn't pay the school wouldn't have had teh money to give me to go. of course, the look on their faces was priceless.

So then the question becomes, if a school does admit someone for their name if they agree to pay, how does it bother the rest of us? I mean, schools need to get funding from somewhere. It's a business after all.

And good luck to those of us in the final stretch of applications! I'm just wait for one more recommender to get back to me about a finished letter and off goes the mailings!


__________



Nov 28, 2008, 3:36 PM

Post #324 of 1018 (10852 views)
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     Re: [v1ctorya] Re: [In reply to]  

Wait -- first of all, was it Boy Meets World, or Saved By The Bell: The New Class!? Because Boy Meets World was in every way superior. (Topanga will always have a free ride in my heart).

Secondly, the issue under discussion wasn't whether a school should admit only those who can pay vs. those who require aid; the issue was whether a school should admit the under-qualified simply because they're famous -- or in these pathetic examples, marginally famous. In your example it sounds like the guy just happened to be on the career-killing Saved By The Bell: The New Class!. (And was this the undergrad or MFA writing program? And was it even at Columbia?)

What's weird, though, is that Columbia uses its MFA program as a cash cow in general. It's not a matter of some rich folks subsidizing fellow writing students; it's rich folks and middle class folks lining Columbia's pockets to the tune of, what, $75, 000? For a useless arts degree? That's been the traditional complaint against Columbia.

But getting back to your experience, I still have to take fault with something. Columbia does have the money to send poor kidz there, regardless of how many rich, inbred, hydrocephalic George Bush -types they admit. The may charge you billions to go there, but they don't actually pay billions for teachers and rent. Far from it.


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 28, 2008, 3:39 PM)


Mikielg
Mikiel Ghelieh

Nov 29, 2008, 12:29 AM

Post #325 of 1018 (10787 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] Re: [In reply to]  

Junior Maas

I've been lurking on this site for a while now and have written on here a few times. I just wanted to let you know a few things. I'v agreed with most things you've said on here and appreciae your insight. I agree totally that Columbia's a cash cow and that there are people who go their simply because than can afford to. I also agree with you that they can afford to fund more people than they do. What I do not apprecite is your hydrocephalic comment. As a person who has lived with it and thrieved for 25 years I take offense to it. In the future might I suggest watching what you post on here.

Mikiel G

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